Journey's end! Having trod through Glasgow, south to north and west to east, we come to the end of our traipse through the electoral landscape sculpted by the voters last Thursday. I hope that it has been an instructive and interesting enterprise, whatever your political hue. For those less keen than I am on pilgrimages into the micro-life of wards, I can only reassure you that this is my second-to-last post dominated by spiking graphs, and the STV language of quotas, surpluses and transfers, and the ordinary course of commentary will shortly be restored. Main my goal was to put this information in an accessible form in the public domain.
Councils do so, and credit to them, but as the European Court of Human Rights likes to say, for a right to be worth the candle, it must be "practical and effective, not theoretical and illusory". Practical and effective access to the cogs and wheels of the STV is what I've tried to promote here. While sometimes the electoral system's operations can seem abstruse and intimidatingly technical, reduced to a few principles of depiction, I don't see why any soul with their head screwed on shouldn't be able to make good sense of it. It can't be right that the only people given a fair whack at understanding how the results happened are heid neeps locked in the vaults of party political offices, who for intelligible reasons, may not be too enthusiastic about sharing explanations for their successes and failures with the public at large.
Finally, I should say that the suggested commentaries sketched after each ward are very much open to interpretation and argument. This, I very much welcome. All that said, to our final three wards: Shettleston, Ballieston and the very last - North East.
Elects four councillors.
2007 result: 3 LAB, 1 SNP.
Result in 2012: 3 LAB, 1 SNP (No change)
Our last post concerned the watery environs of Canal. Straying eastward, we enter into what can seem a polarised electoral desert, occupied only by candidates in red rosettes scrapping with a smaller band of scavenging Nationalists. All three of the wards we're examining here are essentially direct conflicts between the SNP and Labour, with little in the way of third and fourth party support to make transfers a major force in the allocation.
For that reason, if the Nationalists were in serious contention with Labour across Glasgow (rather than reaving for unattended Green and Liberal votes), we'd expect the the four-councillor ward of Shettleston to be the site of a serious dust up. Despite some encouraging signs in the vote the SNP received, it simply didn't materialise. A familiar face headlines the Labour bill in Shettleston. Frank McAveety, booted out of Holyrood in 2011 by John Mason. He achieved well-over quota in the first round, as did George Ryan (LAB) (albeit by a very slim margin). Neither SNP candidate did so, though compared to some wards, the vote share achieved between the Nationalists in Shettleston might have put them both in contention, and put serious pressure on the third Labour candidate, but for McAveety's substantial transfers.
The Labour field exhausted, the fourth baillie was always going to be a Nationalist, and John McLaughlin won it over Adam Miller easily. Since we've keeping an eye on the transfers, Shettleston represents another success for the SNP, coaxing its voters to keep with it. On his elimination, Miller transferred 810 of his 1009 votes across to McLaughlin, pitching him over the threshold of the quota. All in all, no cigar this time around for Shettleston SNP, but promising signs for the future, on balancing the vote between candidates, and encouraging their folk to transfer. For an indication of what this might look like, we need only look into our next ward...
Elects four councillors.
2007 result: 2 LAB, 2 SNP
Result in 2012: 2 LAB, 2 SNP (No change)
As those of you who took at look at this post before the election will already know, Baillieston was where Glasgow SNP first dipped their toes in the water of multiple party candidates standing in a multi-member ward. While in 2007, the SNP ran only one candidate in every other ward in the city, here they tried their luck at two - and won them - beating the third Labour candidate to take the fourth seat in the ward. Accordingly, Baillieston in 2007 represents an important example for Nationalists standing other areas in the city in direct contests with Labour, running three candidates. Interestingly, this time around, Labour only stood two candidates in Baillieston, effectively conceding the second seat won by John Mason and David McDonald in 2007. By way of contrast with 2012, and to jog your memory, here was how the allocation worked in the ward in 2007:
You'll notice that in 2007, the SNP double win was in great part down to the sheer strength of John Mason's support, and the effective transfer of his large surplus across to his running-mate. Absent Mason's "personal vote", what changed for the SNP in Baillieston this election? Interestingly, this time around, the leading candidate's surplus was of significantly less importance than 2007. Both Austin Sheridan and David Turner achieved first preference votes putting them close to the ward quota for election of 1597. While Mason and McDonald's vote split had been comically lopsided in 2007 (93% and 7% of SNP first preferences respectively), Turner took 54% to Sheridan's 46% in 2012. Turner only exceeded the quota by 18 votes, so wasn't able much to assist Sheridan towards victory. That said, however, Sheridan took fifteen of the votes going, indicating that over 80% of ballots successfully transferred between the two Nationalists.
21. North East
Elects four councillors
2007 result: 3 LAB, 1 SNP
Result in 2012: 3 LAB, 1 SNP (No change)
And finally, the apogee of the polarised logic of politics in the east end of Glasgow, the North East allocation was the briefest and most decisive of the lot. Disdaining a long count, and roll of eliminations and tiny transfers, the people of Glasgow North East elected three council candidates on the first count: Gerry Boyle for the SNP, and Maureen Burke and Gerry Leonard for the Labour Party. That left only a single seat to fill, and in a single bound, Sohan Singh snapped it up, on the back of substantial transfers from Burke, which catapulted him instantly over the quota.
Because of the terseness of the allocation process, we can't say much about where transfers might have been made here, beyond remarking that Nationalists wish to make progress in the North East of the city, they will have to rely on their own brute electoral strength, rather than sooking up transfers from more sympathetic fellow-travellers whose first and second preferences are for other political outfits.